A Homemade Christmas

Earlier I wrote about my dissatisfaction with the mainstream commercialization of Christmas and promised to update with some ideas on how to spread the gift of presence, rather than so many presents.

I’ve been trolling the web, looking for homemade gift ideas.  Here are some that I’ve found:

  • Homemade Jars. Layer the dry ingredients to your favorite cookie, soup, or chili recipe.  Cover the lid with a pretty Christmas fabric and attach a tag with assembly directions.  You can get some soup and other ideas here.  Finish off the gift with some homemade bread or corn muffins.
  • Homemade Bath Salts.
  • Make your own gift baskets. It’s fun to choose a theme and run with it.  For example, if the gift recipient loves French cuisine, get a cookbook.  Add some cheese, a cheese plate, crackers, croissants, etc.  You might find a gift card to La Madeleine or another French restaurant.  If the guy you are buying for is the GrillMaster Extraordinaire, make a basket full of grilling goodies, such as wood chips for smoking, grilling marinades, pot holders, tools, cookbooks, etc.  If you are making a basket for an entire family, choose a theme that revolves around something you know they all like — like football, movies, hiking, etc.
  • Make something using your special gifts.  One year my husband dusted off his calligraphy skills and wrote out 1 Corinthians 13 for his mom on parchment paper.  We framed it; to this day it is her favorite gift.  If you can paint, paint portraits or landscapes for your family.  If you are gifted in making scrapbooks, make a scrapbook of your kids for your parents.  Maybe you are a fantastic cook — make and take dinner over for a friend or family member.  Are you a writer?  Write something especially for the ones you love…a letter, a poem, a story.  Can you sew?  Use that skill to make someone placemats, pillows, table runners, etc.  Maybe you’re a closet filmmaker.  Direct a film with your kids and make DVDs for the grandparents — they’d love it!  Perhaps you are so busy with kids that you’ve forgotten what you used to be good at before you became a mom!  Use your mothering skills for someone else — offers of free babysitting will surely be loved.

Do you have ideas for ways to make Christmas meaningful to those you love?  Add them on as comments!

I’ve been known to suffer the pre and post holiday blues.  I tend to get overwhelmed with all the planning and baking — but a funny thing happens when I take my focus away from what I feel that I “have” to get done and back onto the WHY I am doing it.  I baked five loaves of bread and filled twelve jars with goodies last night without an ounce of stress because I wasn’t doing it out of obligation.  I wasn’t huddled over the keyboard searching Amazon for the latest and greatest gadget to purchase for my neighbors.  I was putting a little bit of myself into those jars and loaves of bread.  As silly as it may seem to admit, I prayed over those jars after I had completed them.  I prayed that they would bring a measure of joy to the recipients — that they would know how much we love and appreciate them being in our lives.  Last night, I didn’t feel blue at all.  I felt joy.

Perhaps that’s a little of what Jesus felt the day he turned the five loaves and two fish into a feast for 8000.  I can’t duplicate that feat, of course.  But I did manage to spread love in a homemade kind of way.

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